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How to spot a gimmick diet

Posted by: Julie Meek
Tags: workplace , nutrition ,

It is rare for a day to go past without me being asked my opinion about a particular diet. Not surprisingly, there are few that I am able to give the tick of approval because the expression ‘going on a diet’ implies that one day you will come off the diet.

Pick up any magazine or click on a myriad of internet sites and you will find a reference to a diet in there somewhere. The term ‘diet’ is very negative and makes people do all sorts of bizarre things, like drinking only lemon juice mixed with cayenne pepper, and quite often makes them unpleasant people to be with.

Healthy eating is about changing your habits and enjoying food, not making your life (and everyone else’s) a misery. I think it is easy to forget that a diet is simply the food we eat.

Fortunately, I have the knowledge to make an informed decision about how I am going to eat and exercise but unless you are a health professional, it can be a really difficult minefield to navigate.
There will always be many wonder ‘diets’ out there in fantasyland, so how can you pick a healthy eating plan from a gimmick diet?

Start by asking the following questions:

  • Does it claim to have ‘magic’ ingredients e.g. grapefruit, seaweed or vinegar? Not a good sign, as there is no such thing as magic in the world of food.
  • Does it promise rapid weight loss – like the diet that guarantees a loss of six kilograms in a week?
  • Do you have to exercise, or do you just have to lie on a vibrating machine that 'shakes' the fat off? No such luck.
  • Who is selling the program? Are they qualified and do they hold a recognised degree in nutrition, or does it seem like the ‘diet’ is a quick way for them to make some cash? 
  • Do you have to buy expensive powders, potions, pills or creams that claim to miraculously melt away fat? 
  • Are you guaranteed weight loss in specific areas of your body? Not possible I ‘m afraid.
  • Do you have to eat a small range of foods that are not familiar to you and perhaps you have never heard of before? 
  • Does the diet require you to eliminate one or more of the five food groups from the Australian Dietary Guidelines?

We need to be savvy when considering changing our eating habits, so why not step up and be the person in your workplace with an informed opinion?

If you discover an eating plan that promises the world, run it through the above checklist, which highlights all the features of the gimmick diet that you should avoid plus saving your sanity and bank account. 

Until next time...

Julie :)


Photo credit: Paul Preacher

About Julie Meek

Accredited practising dietitian, performance specialist, speaker

View all posts by Julie Meek

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